Currently the Avs sit in the number one position in the NW division and the number two slot in the Western Conference. The sit number two in the West thanks to the LA Kings and their win over Calgary. I expect this to be a fight for that division title down to the end, the flames are a VERY capable team.
Vancouver currently sits 4 wins away from being able to gain the NW division title, but has three games in hand on the Avs at this point in the season. Luongo is capable of stealing a couple of wins for sure, and the Canucks have 3 more opportunities to gain ground against the Avs for that standing.
Budaj has played well in relief of Anderson during his injury. He currently has a 2.63 GAA with a .916 save percentage. Not bad at all, but could get better. This is his opportunity to gain some ground with the coaching staff and be able to give them a reason to give him 20 games this season.
Anderson still has good numbers, but nowhere near what he had in October. However, he has done his best to give his team opportunities to win regardless of how poorly they play for large portions of many games.
Stastny is playing very well and is at a point per game average. I really believe he could easily push 100 points this season if he can get a few multi point games. When he scores, he scores in bunches. Sorry Terry Frei, but he is worth the contract(Currently tied with one Alex Ovechkin). 8 goals, 24 assists, 32 points, and +7.
Duchene is heating up and to some degree still needs a winger. Last night against the Blues I watched him dangle several defenders and make them look stupid. However, he didn't have an option for passing. The problem was that the guys he was with were a step behind him mentally and in reading what he wanted to do to set up the play. He also has a knack for getting behind defenders and going one on one with the goalie. His second disallowed goal last night was another example of that, as well as in the game with Tampa earlier in the road trip. He is also turning into a complete player. His official goal against the Blues was a result of reading the play well defensively and helping to cover a man BEFORE he got the puck. 9 goals, 10 assists, 19 points.
There are several un-sung heroes on this team that need to be mentioned. Two of them are Kyle Quincey and Ryan Wilson. Something that has been missing from the Avalanche game for several years was defenseman who contribute offensively as well as lay the occasional big hit. Jeff Finger two seasons ago could lay the occasional big hit, but just wasn't a fit for the team. Quincey's hit on Stamkos was a great play and is a demoralizing type of play. Wilson gave two big checks that were part of the highlight reel for the Altitude Video team. Very impressive from young guys. Quincey also sits at three goals and 13 assists to be the team leading offensive defenseman. Liles may have a challenge to his crown for that position.
4-3-3 in the last ten games is not overly impressive. However, the team continues to collect points. 11 out of 20 points possible in the last 10 games insn't horrible. It can be improved upon and needs to be if this team wants to stay in contention for an upper level playoff spot.
The Avs are mediocre sitting at 14th in the league on the powerplay. To be considered an elite team you must be in the top ten. The also sit at 15th in the league for Penalty killing at 80.3%. They did have a slump on this, and if you took out some stinker PK games it would be much higher. However, this is where they really stand and that must be adjusted if they want to remain in the upper end of the league.
All said, well done so far Sacco. You have done a good job with a young team, drawing the right reactions, and handing out the right discipline at the necessary times. Keep getting players like Stewart, Wolski, Stastny, Hannan, and Quincey to perform and we have a lot to look forward to.